Feb 8, 2015

The Y-Files

I recently blogged about my fantasies for how Isaac Asimov's Foundation saga could be presented as a television series. Here, I want to give similar consideration to the idea of a new television series that would be an X-Files reboot.

Previously I compared The X-Files (1993 - 2002) to an old Australian television show, Delta (1969-1970).

In the Ekcolir RealityThe Δ-Files was a popular investigative science fiction television series, running for years in the United States.

Here, in this blog post, I refer to my imagined future X-Files reboot as The Y-Files.

Think Small, Very Small
Time Travel Television
Mulder: "It's the virus-- the black oil." 

I'm comfortable thinking of viruses as a kind of nanotechnology, but the "black oil" from The X-Files would need an upgrade for The Y-Files. Advanced alien nanotechnology gives the aliens seemingly god-like powers compared to we humans. In general, these technologically-advanced aliens care as little about primates on Earth (including humans) as we do about the ants living in some random rotten tree trunk.

"...the black oil.....the substance in which the alien life force was held.....the very medium of the life force itself....."

Technologically-advanced aliens.
The aliens have existed as an artificial lifeform for billions of years. We humans can just barely understand how the aliens exist within a kind of distributed nanotechnology domain. The nanite-based fluid substance of the aliens traveled through space and reached Earth long ago. The aliens were perfectly happy to live deep within the Earth. With time, one "faction" of the aliens mutated and specialized in exploring symbiotic relationships with the evolving biological lifeforms of Earth. Most of the alien "life force" was content to live within the rocks of Earth and held the ethical view that Earth's biosphere should be free to evolve in its own random directions.

No FTL Travel
by Dave Granlund (source)
The "alien invasion" theme of The X-Files mytharc was intriguing because of its slowness. According to regulations imposed by the Extraterrestrials Union,  a Hollywood alien invasion must be repulsed within a 90 minute time limit (HURRAY!).

"the interplanetary explorers of alien civilizations will likely be mechanical in nature"

For The Y-Files, it should be made clear that there is no quick and easy way to travel between the stars. Long ago, a nanite-based artificial lifeform arrived on Earth after a long slow journey from a distant star. For the most part, those "alien invaders" ignored the biological scum of planet Earth, but then one day a misguided alien started tinkering with primate evolution and the result was the human species. The Dave Granlund cartoon shown here depicts the fundamental paranoia of The Y-Files: are "we" in control of our destiny? And just who are "we" anyhow?

Biogenesis (source) Alien "message in a bottle"; Ivory Coast
I'd like to see The Y-Files become a global phenomenon. Rather than revive the FBI as the investigative organization behind The Y-Files, there should be an international organization that tries to make sense of the aliens who have long been visitors to Earth.

Jack Vance invented the Interworld Police Coordinating Company (IPCC). The Y-Files  follows the activities of a team of investigators from an international organization called the International Scientific Investigation Organization (ISIO). ISIO can be in a constant state of doubt about alien visitors to Earth, with some members doubtful about the existence of aliens and other ISIO members devoted to the challenge of revealing "the truth" about the secret history of alien visitors on this world.

William van de Kamp and Noémi Mahrée
The Y-Files begins with the son of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully: William. William is about to graduate with a B.S. degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Wyoming. He is contacted by the mysterious Noémi, who is from the Ivory Coast.

Noémi and William are perfect hosts for alien nanites, but at the start of The Y-Files their bodies are devoid of nanites. Together, they must discover their hidden past and make contact with the aliens who have long been visiting Earth.

Transition: from X-Files to Y-Files
Someone like Zendaya Coleman could play the part of Noémi. In the first few episodes of The Y-Files there would be major roles for Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny as they explain William's past and set Noémi and William on their path to making contact with the Investors.

in the Epsilon Eridani star system
An alien artificial lifeform long ago reached Earth and a faction of the aliens (called Investors) secretly guided primate evolution towards the production of a biological lifeform that would be similar to the original form of the aliens. About 1,000,000 years ago, the meddling of the Investors was discovered and a struggle began among different alien factions over the future of Earth.

Terms of a truce were declared among the competing alien factions and Earth was ruled off-limits for the aliens until Earthlings could decide their own fate. Although some alien nanites were left on Earth, their only function was to observe and monitor the planet. Some of the aliens withdrew to Epsilon Eridani while other continued their travels through the galaxy. On one planet in the Epsilon Eridani system, an alien faction (later to be known as the Colonists) began experimenting with the methods needed to return to existing as a biological lifeform.

Alien Investor and Colonist factions
experiment with various humanoid forms
Paranormalcy. About 20,000 years ago, some of the Investors secretly returned to Earth and began working to support development of a technological society on Earth. Due to the meddling and connivance of the Investors, modern human brains can sometimes take control of alien nanites, giving some Earthlings "paranormal" abilities.

In 1945, another alien faction (Colonists) interpreted the development of atomic weapons on Earth as marking the end of the truce. Their advance party (a small group of nanorobotic symbionts encased in manufactured biological shells) quietly contacted select groups of humans inside the government of Earth's nuclear powers (leading, in the West, to the Syndicate) and these aliens informed the Earthlings that they would not allow Earth to be destroyed in a nuclear holocaust. The Colonists began development of a type of modified human that would be a better match to the original biological form of the aliens. The ethical precepts of the aliens prevented the Colonists from directly taking control of humans, so the Colonists (as the investors had also done) worked indirectly through humans. The main Colonist starship was scheduled to arrive from Epsilon Eridani and reach Earth in 2012. Occasionally the aliens would take on human form and live among the humans of Earth, although this was a serious violation of the ethical rules of the aliens.

Noémi Mahrée
By 2003, the Investors had defeated the advance party of the Colonists (as told in The X-Files). In 2012 the arriving Colonist starship diverted to the Moon, using it as their base of operations. They set about trying to infiltrate Earth and discover what happened to their advance party (who had been destroyed by the Investors). By investigating the activities of this "second wave" of Colonists, Noémi and William eventually learn about their past, join ISIO and receive nanites from the Investors. Equipped with alien nanites, Noémi and William have seemingly "paranormal" abilities, but actually their "special powers" depend on their ability to control alien nanites. The Investors work with Noémi and William and help Earth resist the Colonists. However, it never becomes clear if we humans are better off working for or against the Colonists...what if the Investors have already "conquered Earth" and are slowly leading us towards destruction?

The X-Files gave us insight into how elements of the United States government interacted with the aliens during the 20th century. There is a similar story behind Noémi and the government of France. ISIO grew out of a joint effort by the British and the French to study "alien artifacts" and technology (The Y-Files can explore the backstory of a European equivalent to the "shadowy" mysteries of government operations such as Area 51 that were featured in The X-Files). Noémi studied comparative religion at the University of Helsinki. The Y-Files can explore the impact of aliens on various religious belief systems around the world.

Science Fiction on Television

Darin Morgan
“The X-Files” lasted a few years too long, especially once it turned into a “We have no idea where the plot is going but if we keep asking questions and answering questions with more questions, no one will notice” storyline. (source)

Ya. One of the worst things about science fiction series on television is that there are "writers" who get paid to create science fiction stories, but they have no real interest in science fiction. Then they get on a treadmill and they have to keep producing new stories....even when they run out of ideas. The X-Files was never more than about 20% concerned with science fiction. As a science fiction fan, I'd like to see The Y-Files be a true science fiction television series. In particular, I'd prefer Sci Fi in a dominant position over the horror elements that, unfortunately, seem mandatory in Hollywood. The producers of the show should hire a science fiction author to define the back-story and characters then spend a year soliciting scripts from large group of established science fiction authors and wannabe Sci Fi writers.

Fun with Sci Fi
I'd put a premium on playfulness -science fiction is all about exploration and playing with new ideas. Hey, its T.V., it just has to be entertaining, so I would not hold The Y-Files to very high standards of scientific plausibility.

"By the time there's another invasion of artificially-intelligent, dung-eating robotic probes from outer space, maybe their uber-children will have devised a way to save our planet."
More book and magazine covers

Next: a new kind of alien invasion

Update: March 24th, 2015 Fox to make 6 new X-Files episodes starting Summer of 2015.

Related Reading: a look back at The X-Files: I Want To Believe

UPDATE DECEMBER 29th 2015: X-Files 2016 miniseries 

2018 update: Season 11 - William

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